Africa in 2017: Prospects and Forecasts, a 3-city tour

The Royal African Society and the British Council present Africa in 2017: Prospects & Forecasts– a three city tour of panellists discussing what 2017 has in store for Africa.

As part of a new strategic partnership with the British Council, the RAS toured its flagship annual event, Prospects and Forecasts, in Edinburgh, London & Birmingham. Three different groups of expert speakers presented their insights on the political, social and cultural outlook for Africa in 2017.

The events are part of a wider strategic partnership between the British Council and the Royal African Society aimed at increasing networks, sharing knowledge and expertise and making connections between the UK and Africa.

The partnership supports four major events in in the Royal African Society’s 2017 programme, including Africa in 2017: Prospects and Forecasts as well as two other events as part of the RAS’s annual literature and film festivals, Africa Writes and Film Africa, and a new event in partnership with the British Council focusing on digital media, entrepreneurialism and technology, in April 2017. 

Africa in 2017

Following a year that’s delivered major surprises in Africa and globally, what does 2017 hold for the African continent? Will it be a year of crises or triumphs?

In terms of elections, 2016 witnessed several major votes on the continent that mostly returned incumbent leaders to power; Ghana, which saw another transition of power, proved to be one of very few exceptions in a pattern that saw sitting presidents in the Republic of Congo, Uganda, Gabon, Zambia, Niger and more all re-elected.

Beyond Africa, the UK’s vote to leave the European Union and the US election delivered further political shocks. What impact will these landmark events and uncertainty in the global system mean for Africa? What can we expect from elections scheduled for 2017 in the likes of Angola, Rwanda, Liberia and Kenya?

Economically, the fall in commodity prices continued to hit major economies, in particular Nigeria, while South Africa, again the continent’s largest economy, remains mired in political turmoil and seems unable to tackle declining economic output and rising unemployment. What impact will commodity prices, an uncertain global economic outlook, and China's continued slowdown have on Africa?

Across the continent, vibrant political and social movements emerged, largely driven by Africa’s rising young populations. This demographic also makes up the majority of migrants leaving the continent as well as much of the force behind Africa’s rising prominence in global cultural production in fields as diverse as film, art and music. How are these creative sectors growing and innovating? What impact will these social, cultural and political movements have in 2017?

Edinburgh - Tuesday 10th January 2017

Speakers: Professor Paul Nugent, Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh; Dr Kate Wright, Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh; Dr Njoki Ngumi, Maker and Member of the Nest Collective / Learning, Development, Monitoring and Research at HEVA Fund, Kenya; Jane Salmonson, NIDOS (Network of International Development Organisations in Scotland) Chair: Dr Barbara Bompani, Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh

Presented in partnership with the International Office and the Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh, and SBI, University of Edinburgh Business School
Recording Available Soon


London - Wednesday 11th January 2017

Speakers: Patrick Smith, Chief Editor, The Africa Report & Editor, Africa Confidential; Razia Khan, Head of Africa Research, Standard Chartered; Dr Njoki Ngumi, Maker and Member of the Nest Collective / Learning, Development, Monitoring and Research at HEVA Fund, Kenya; Professor Chuks Okereke, Environment and Development, University of Reading Chair: Zeinab Badawi, Broadcaster & chair of the RAS
Presented in partnership with the Centre of African Studies, University of London
Audio recording
ideo of Live Stream


Birmingham - Monday 16th January

Speakers: Dr Njoki Ngumi (Maker and Member of the Nest Collective / Learning, Development, Monitoring and Research at HEVA Fund, Kenya) Professor Nic Cheeseman (International Development Department, University of Birmingham) Professor Franklyn Lisk (Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation, University of Warwick) & Eliza Anyangwe (Writer & Founder of The Nzinga Effect). Chairs: Dr Kate Skinner & Dr Maxim Bolt (Department for African Studies and Anthropology, UoB)

Presented in partnership with the Department of African Studies and Anthropology and the International Development Department at the University of Birmingham
udio recording